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In which Swiss cantons is most income spent on health insurance?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
In which Swiss cantons is most income spent on health insurance?
Your health insurance burden depends on where you live. Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography on Unsplash

For many people in Switzerland, the obligatory health insurance premiums represent a significant financial burden. But how much you will pay depends on where you live.


The price of the compulsory health insurance (KVG / LaMal) has been an ongoing topic of discussions for years, as costs keep climbing and no relief is in sight.

But this has become even more pertinent now, as Swiss voters will weigh on two initiatives relating to health insurance premiums on June 9th (read more about it below).

Everyone agrees that insurance rates are high and that they account for a big chunk of many people’s budgets.

But how big exactly?

As so many other things in Switzerland, the cost of health insurance is determined by cantons, which means residents of some areas will pay higher premiums than others.

READ ALSO: Why do Swiss healthcare premiums vary so much per canton?

So where in the country are you likely to spend the biggest portion of your salary on health insurance?

This is the picture that emerges based on figures from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and research carried out  by Ecoplan independent political and economic consultancy:



A typical family ('typical' for this particular study) with two young, pre-school-age children and a net income of 97,992 francs a year, will spend the biggest chunk of their income (16.5 percent) on health insurance in Basel-City.

Next are Neuchâtel (14.9 percent) and Bern (13.2 percent).

On the other hand, in Zurich, Switzerland's (and the world’s) most expensive city, that proportion is 12.2 percent — still high, but lower than in a number of other cantons.

As a comparison, that rate in the canton of Graubünden is only 6 percent.

 Single individual

The research looked at a 24-year-old unmarried person who earns 47,500 francs net.

Their health insurance premiums amount to 8.8 percent in Neuchâtel, followed by 8.2 in Basel-Country, and 8 percent in Vaud — all three, the highest in Switzerland.

If that person lived in Basel-City, on the other hand, their premiums would represent  only 4 percent of income.


For the retiree living alone and receiving a net income of 33,750 francs, social assistance and supplementary benefits cover the costs of the premiums.

READ ALSO: Is Swiss health insurance cheaper or even free for pensioners?


What do we learn from this study?

Primarily, that how much of your income is spent on health insurance is determined by your place of residence — not exactly a major revelation, but the figures are interesting nevertheless.

Keep in mind, however, that these numbers are approximate, and a lot depends on each person’s circumstances — that is, the exact salary and family situation, as well as the kind of co-pay deductions their insurance plan has.

What’s on the agenda for the June 9th referendum?

Two initiatives related to the cost of health insurance will be voted on:

  • ‘Premium relief initiative calling for no more than 10 percent of income to be spent on health insurance premiums 
  • ‘Cost brake initiative for lower health insurance premiums


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